Monday, 18 October 2010

Can Graeme Swann make the difference?

Graeme Swann is making the most of a second chance at international level, and he has a key role to play in Australia.

The 31-year-old made his international debut against South Africa all the way back in 1999 after being called up - but not selected - for the Test series with New Zealand the previous summer.

However, his cheeky-chappy persona was perceived by some as over confidence and even arrogance. The selectors were not impressed with Swann's attitude and he was dropped from the international squad the following summer.

It was five years later that his form began to pick up. After leaving Northamptonshire for Nottinghamshire he became a key member of the side that won the 2005 County Championship. His domestic form eventually earned him a recall to the England one day squad in 2007's tour of Sri Lanka and he soon made his Test debut the same winter against India in Chennai.

To say Swann has never looked back is an understatement. He found consistent bounce and turn, regularly taking key wickets that saw him quickly become England's first choice spinner in all forms of the game. During the 2009 Ashes series he grabbed four crucial wickets in England's two victories - including the famous removal of Aussie skipper Ricky Ponting's middle stump. His batting lower down the order also adds crucial runs to England's tally. The best Ashes odds make England strong favourites, and he will have to be at his very best.

His recent performances in South Africa and at the T20 World Cup - where he was England's leading wicket taker - has sent him up to number three bowler in the world and for the first time in decades England have the better spinner going into a series against Australia and the Ashes betting offers reflect this.

Swann remains a joker and often likes to have a laugh, but unlike in 1999 he now also has the ability to perform when it matters.

The shadow of Shane Warne looms large over Australian cricket and they may miss him just a little bit more when they see Swann line up against them this winter.


J Peeling said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
J Peeling said...

A correction - Swann's Test debut didn't come in the same winter as the Sri Lanka tour.

Also England surely had the better spinner going into the last Ashes series, although Hauritz arguably outperformed Swann prior to his omission which at The Oval proved so costly.

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